A vitally important question and one you need to get right in order to both gain maximum muscle and limit fat accumulation on a mass-gain bodybuilding diet.

NOTE: This formula has recently been made into a free downloadable calculator that does all the math for you! Go here to grab it now: Calories to Build Muscle Calculator (it’ll also calculate your body fat percentage and tell you how much protein you need!)

We first need to find out how many calories per day it takes for you to just maintain your current weight. Let’s refer to this as your Daily Calorie Expenditure.

There are 3 factors that come into play when calculating your Daily Calorie Expenditure

  1. Resting Metabolic Rate – The amount of calories your body would burn if you just lay still all day.
  2. Occupation – The amount of calories your job or daily life would burn
  3. Exercise – The amount of calories your daily exercise burns


Calculating Resting Metabolic Rate


The best way of calculating your Resting Metabolic Rate is with something called the Katch-McArdle formula.

RMR = 370 + (21.6 x lean weight in kg)

To get from pounds to kg simply divide pounds by 2.2.
You’ll also need know your body fat percentage. This is where a cheap pair of body fat calipers comes in very handy. If you have 15% body fat at 160 lbs that means you carry 24 pounds of fat and your lean weight is 136 lbs.


Calculating Calories Burned From Occupation


Different daily activities obviously have different energy requirements. That’s why it’s important to factor in your occupational calorie burn.

Light work – multiply your RMR by 1.5

Moderate work – multiply your RMR by 1.7

Heavy work – multiply your RMR by 1.9


Calculating Calories Burned From Exercise


Here are a sample list of exercise activities and their calorie burn for 1 hour:

520 – Aerobics (high intensity)
400 – Aerobics (low intensity)
370 – Badminton
865 – Boxing (sparring)
385 – Cycling (10 mph)
250 – Cycling (5.5 mph)
760 – Judo
445 – Rowing machine
1000 – Running (6 mins/mile)
750 – Running (9 min/mile)
615 – Squash
630 – Swimming (fast)
415 – Tennis
270-450 – Weight training

Adding It All Up


A person weighs 160 lbs with 15% body fat.

This means they carry 24 lbs of fat.

160 – 24 = 136 lbs lean weight

136 / 2.2 = 61.8 Kg

His resting metabolic rate = 370 + (21.6 x 61.8) = 1704.88

He works an office job…..

1704.88 x 1.5 = 2557.32

He also does weight training 5 days a week for 40 minutes at a time which burns 170 calories. His Daily Calorie Expenditure on training days is therefore:

2557.32 + 170 = 2727.32 calories

Putting it all together, this guy burns 2727.32 per day on weekdays.

Assuming he moves around as much at the weekends as he does during his working week, we simply add 2 days minus the weight-training sessions to give a weekly total of 18751.24 calories (5 x 2727.32 add 2 x 2557.32).

Then we divide this figure by 7 to give us an Average Daily Calorie Expenditure of 2678.75 calories


So How Many Calories Per Day Do You Need To Gain Muscle?


Bear in mind that 2678 calories is his maintenance level calorie requirement. For bulking with the Glycemic Load Anabolic Diet you should consume 200-300 extra calories per day. For this example, this guy would be shooting for 2878 – 2978 calories per day to pack on the muscle.

This will greatly help you in your quest to build muscle and keep fat gains at bay. Go here to read up on the higher-carb bodybuilding diet that stills minimizes fat gains while allowing you to pack on new slabs of muscle.

Your buddy,

Mark McManus

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